As a start-up, it’s imperative that you cover your legal bases. However, due to your size, you have to be savvy about how you do it.
Until you have the cash flow of a Fortune 500, forking out exorbitant legal fees really hurts.
As a business owner you have certain legal responsibilities which cannot be avoided but compliance doesn’t have to equal a hole in your wallet.
There are ways you can drastically minimise your legal costs.
Pick a lawyer friend’s brain
Everyone knows someone who has a lawyer mate. Get them to review your key documents.
For something as simple as looking over an agreement or getting their legal nod of approval that you have covered your bases, it doesn’t have to mean hours of legal fees.
How many times have friends asked me for simple legal help? I have lost count!
Use a template
Let me let you in on a little secret all lawyers wouldn’t want you to know.
You know those legal documents, contracts and agreements we all pay so much for? Guess what, they all come from a firm database from which the lawyer will download the appropriate template and personalise it for the client.
The good news is you can do this too. There are websites out there that provide a variety of comprehensive templates you can customise. All you then need to do is get a lawyer friend to check it over and make sure you’ve covered your bases.
At the very least, if you do have to see a lawyer, starting with a template and having a draft agreement will greatly reduce the time you require with them which means lower fees.
Share the love: part with some equity
Business is business and that means there are some circumstances where you may require a greater level of legal involvement. If you simply don’t have the cash, an alternative option is to part with a small sliver of equity in return for independent legal advice.
If you can pay up front, or even negotiate a deferred payment plan, do it. But if you do go down the equity path, make sure you have a watertight agreement outlining the precise terms. But remember: don’t give away too much!
Ask for the meal deal
If you don’t use templates, approach a start-up lawyer and negotiate a package deal. If you’re bringing them a substantial chunk of work, they’re more likely to offer some form of a discount. Remember, you’ve lost nothing by asking!
Kate Horman is the founder of The Lazy Lawyer, a website dedicated to providing consumers with essential legal insights and documents at a fraction of the cost. Prior to this Kate worked at a corporate law firm and a large multi-national.